Posts Tagged "childbirth preparation"

A Breast Field-Trip

Posted by on Jul 6, 2015

A Breast Field-Trip

Many changes occur in a woman’s breasts during her pregnancy and after the baby is born. When new mothers come to me with breastfeeding difficulties, and I ask them if their nipples are “cracked”, they sometimes are not sure. “I don’t know what my nipples looked like before the baby started to suck on them. Do they look normal now?” To get a sense of what equipment you are starting out with on your breastfeeding journey, it might be a good idea for you to go on a “Breast Field Trip” at the end of pregnancy. (Please note: If you have concerns about your breast health, or if you have had breast surgery, some of this may not be relevant to you. Please see your doctor or midwife and consider setting up a prenatal appointment with a Lactation Consultant (IBCLC) to prepare for any challenges you may encounter when breastfeeding your baby.) 1. Take your top and bra off and stand in front of a mirror with good lighting. 2. Look at your breasts. You may notice: • Your breasts are bigger than before you got pregnant. Most of the glandular tissue you need to make milk grows during pregnancy. And all the little ducts that are needed to transport the milk grow then too. Some breasts grow a lot, and some grow only a little, but they almost all grow some. • One breast is larger that the other. As breasts grow, the difference in size between them (and there is almost always a difference in size) becomes more apparent. • Your breasts are not symmetrical. One nipple may be lower than the other. One may point more to the left, or more to the right. Knowing that your breasts are not symmetrical may help you figure out how to position your baby at the breast. 3. Look at your nipples. You may notice: • Your areola (pink or brown part of the breast around the nipple) has become bigger and darker. • You may have more visible or darker bumps on the areola. These are sometimes called “Montgomery’s tubercles” but they are more descriptively called sebaceous glands of the areola. They secrete an oily substance that keeps the nipple and areola supple and smells attractive for the baby. The smell helps the baby find the nipple. • Your nipples may be bigger and darker than before. They may stick out more. The skin may be crinkly (the anatomical term for the crinkles is “rugae”) (These crinkles are not “cracks.” When a baby attaches to the breast too shallowly, and the nipple get pinched, a blood blister may form and then a wound may develop. That is what people mean when they talk about “cracked nipples.”) • Your nipples may only stick out if they are touched, massaged or get cold. If that is the case, you may have “flat nipples.” • If your nipples retreat when you compress the areola, you may have “inverted nipples.” This is...

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Why I Am A Doula

Posted by on Aug 26, 2013

I became a doula because I was a childbirth teacher who got curious and went to a “labour support” course thinking I would learn some useful things to teach the dads and partners in my classes.  This was way back in 1994, when I didn’t know the word “doula” and had a 5-year-old, a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old.  There was no way I was going to be a doula.  I couldn’t leave my kids.  My youngest was still nursing. But only a week or two after the doula course (which I loved), a woman called to ask me to be her doula.  She was going to be in my prenatal class and didn’t have a partner and knew she needed support in labour.  Of course, I said yes.  It was irresistible. After that birth, I realized how much I learned from being with the parents, how it informed my childbirth teaching and how much of a difference I could make in the parents’ experience.  I was hooked.  I took three clients that first year, and five clients the next.  And then I started taking a client a month – that was as many as my family could handle.  Nowadays, I run the Mothering Touch Centre, but I still take on five or six clients each year.  I have to. I have to keep going to births because it helps me stay current with the hospital practices and that is important for my childbirth teaching.  It also stops me from forgetting the intensity and the unpredictability of birth.  I need to remember what hard work it is to support a woman in labour.  I need to not develop a rosy memory of how lovely it all is.  I want to be able to give the parents in my childbirth classes and the doulas in my workshops a realistic idea of what birth is like. But mostly, I have to go to births because I love them so much.  I love the excitement and the intensity of it.  I love how doula work helps me to stay in the moment and be with the parents as they move along their journey.  I love watching the power and the strength of the chilbearing body.  I love watching the partner’s awe.  I love seeing the parents’ response to that tiny, new baby – and the baby’s response to the parents’ touch and voices. I love being part of a team to support the birthing parent.  I love working with Moms and Dads and Parents and Partners and midwives and doctors and nurses who are all devoted to this family’s safety and well-being.  I love working with a person as they discover their childbearing power and go through this immense change that leads them to parenthood. I am so grateful to all the families who have allowed me to join them on the journey to parenthood.  It has been such a wonderful opportunity for me to learn about birth, about people, about life.  That’s...

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